This And That: 10 Things I Haven't Learned In 5 Months Living Abroad
I've spent the past four months documenting new things I've learned and observations I've made about living life abroad. So I decided to spend these past 30 days confronting all the things I wish I knew by now but haven't figured out yet. Here are 10 things I have not learned in 5 months living abroad.
Which is the local language in Hong Kong. I also haven't learned any Mandarin, which is also spoken by some in Hong Kong and by everyone in mainland China. The only bit I've learned so far is how to say my street name and thank you in Cantonese so I can always be polite to cab drivers and ask them to take me home.
2. How to use chopsticks.
It's a work in progress.
3. The conversion rate between Hong Kong and US dollars.
Conceptually, I understand that there are about 7.75 Hong Kong dollars to every 1 US dollar. Practically, I have no idea what anything costs.
4. To control my eating habits.
I'm behaving like I will wake up one day and Hong Kong will suddenly run out of noodles, rice and dumplings. I know this is a ridiculous way to act, but my love for various Asian cuisines didn't start until halfway through college so I'm making up for 20 years of lost time.
5. The metric system.
I've been trying to embrace it, but at this point -- agree to disagree.
6. To be a confident flyer.
Fourteen flights in 5 months and I still sweat uncontrollably whenever there's a hint of turbulence.
7. What voltage and wattage means.
This is another one of those conceptual vs. practical moments. In theory, I understand voltage and wattage have to do with electricity. Practically speaking -- two curling irons, one hair dryer and a handheld steamer have all fallen victim to my inability to correctly plug something into a wall. Converter, adapter, potato, po-tah-to.
8. How to walk in Hong Kong without getting body-checked.
Hong Kongers don't say "Excuse me," if they're trying to get passed you, and they don't ask you to move to the side if you happen to be standing in their way. Instead, they remain silent and just plow into you. It's like playing a weird game of chicken you didn't even know you were playing in the first place. As a New Yorker, I find this level of interaction with strangers on the street incredibly uncomfortable.
9. Where to find a cup of iced coffee for less than $7 USD.
Coffee, especially when it's iced, costs a small fortune in Hong Kong. According to a recent survey, a cup of coffee in Hong Kong is the most expensive in the world, at a whopping $7.77 USD (including services). It's bonkers.
10. Military time.
I missed a ferry due to this a few weeks after moving, but luckily I haven't missed a flight yet. It just takes me way too long to book travel, and only understanding the time for 12 hours of the day just adds to my general state of semi-confused.